Monday, February 2, 2009

Paul Ogden represented Incompetent Coroner against Taxpayers

Many movies have scenes where some person involved in a nefarious conspiracy is revealed to be someone who was originally introduced as a protagonist. One of my favorite examples was in the 1987 film version of Dragnet. In Dragnet, a woman is kidnapped by the People Against Goodness and Normalcy (P.A.G.A.N). When she unmasks their leader at a rally, it is revealed to be the Rev. Jonathan Whirley, a televangelist who heads the Moral Advance Movement of America, well -respected by his followers as a person of the highest-ethical standards whose reputation was beyond reproach.

Such glowing praise is also bestowed upon blogger Paul Ogden. Ogden's public blogging vendetta against the law firm of Barnes and Thornburg has forced Ogden to publicly criticize Mayor Greg Ballard for alleged transgressions. When people point out the flaws in Ogden's rhetoric, Ogden's supporters try and shoot the messenger, while professing reaffirmation in Ogden's supposed goals of strengthening the GOP by revealing public conflicts of interest and protecting taxpayers.

Yet, Ogden has written that we should ignore conflicts of interest in the affairs of Sheriff Frank Anderson, City-County Councilor Doris Minton-McNeill, and certain law firms, instead saying the GOP should focus its efforts in going after Ballard Barnes and Thornburg. But his supporters insisted he makes these claims to protect taxpayers. We thought this to be the case ourselves, that is, until we saw Paul Ogden's writings on his relationship with disgraced Marion County Coroner Ken Ackles.

Ackles' tenure since succeeding John McGoff as Marion County Coroner was tumultuous at best. His office was accused of mixing up corpses and stealing personal items from corpses. His office was also sued several times for employment discrimination. He also was criticized for deputizing nearly every staff member as a Deputy Coroner, including his janitorial staff.

Perhaps Ackles best known recent antics, though, were when the City-County Council, pursuant to state law, voted to withhold Ackles pay. The state law in question was passed when two college students were involved in an auto accident. One perished, the other remained horribly maimed and in a hospital. After the funeral, it was discovered the women's identities were mixed up. As a result, the Indiana General Assembly passed a law that County Coroners, until that time not required to have any job requirements outside of being a Doctor in some health related discipline, complete training and pass tests to prove competency. The incentive for Coroners to complete this requirement was that they would have their pay withheld if they did not pass the tests by a certain date, withheld until they completed the testing.

Ackles, a chiropractor before his election as coroner, failed certain tests and failed to complete the training. The Council, following law, began the process to withhold his pay. However, Ackles refused to appear before the Council committee, instead sending a deputy and an attorney, who threatened to sue the City and County if they passed the ordinance required to withhold Ackles pay. That did not go over well, and the Council voted to withhold the Coroner's pay.

Ackles did sue, as promised, but with a new attorney. Ogden gleefully discussed his involvement with the case on his blog, as it brought him and his law firm media attention:

"Last Friday, I filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Marion County Coroner who had had his pay withheld by the Indianapolis City County Council since March for not completing a training course. The lawsuit basically involved a couple dry technical legal issues...The media, however, did not find it to be a dry issue. On Tuesday, I found myself being interviewed on-air by Pam Elliot of WISH-TV and Norman Cox of WRTV. I also received a call requesting information from the Indianapolis Star. The article appeared this morning."

Within the past week, Paul Ogden praised State Senator Mike Young, a Republican, for his 2007 hostility towards Tom John's election as Marion County GOP Chairman (Ogden does not like John that much either). Ogden said in that blog post:

"His (Senator Young's) willingness to publicly oppose Tom John as chairman in 2007 is a testament to his character."

What does Paul Ogden's willingness to represent Ken Ackles in his lawsuit against Marion County say about Ogden's character? Ackles is another Democrat who has been under fire for violating the public trust. His reputation was so poor that Marion County Democrats, unable to get him to withdraw before their slating, forced Ackles to withdraw as a candidate just two days later. Ackles gave the public a middle finger by refusing to testify on the pay withholding after being invited by the Council's Administration and Finance Committee. After refusing to appear open and in the public on the issue before the County's fiscal body, he sued the County, wasting taxpayer dollars on a silly lawsuit that could have been avoided if Ackles could have proven he was a competent Coroner. Yet, instead of criticizing such a foolish folly wasting taxpayer dollars, Paul Ogden filed the lawsuit for Ackles and against taxpayers.

So to recap, Paul Ogden, Republican taxpayer advocate, accuses Republicans of wrongdoing with no public, attributable evidence, absolves Democrats of wrongdoing despite public, attributable evidence, and now sues taxpayers on behalf of an elected official proven incompetent by standardized testing.

The more and more we look at what Ogden writes on topics not related to Barnes and Thornburg, the more the evidence mounts that Paul Ogden is no Republican friend of the taxpayer. The Ackles example is the most shameful example. Why is Ogden doing this? Our examination will continue...


  1. Here's the kicker, Ackles fired Ogden for being incompetent. What does that tell you when Ken Ackles thinks you're a moron?!

  2. I was fired from the Coroner's case? Wow, is that guy clueless. I am still Ackles attorney and worked on the case today. Not sure where that guy is getting his information.

    The council withheld the Coroner's salary using a statute which by its very language clearly did not apply to coroners who were already in office. Behind the scenes all the attorneys knew they were going to have to pay his salary. Everyone in employment law knows you can't withhold someone salary beyond 10 days and doing so results in harsh penalties aginst the employer. The Council should have been told that.

    Paul K. Ogden

  3. Wow! Calling a lawyer fired who is still working on a case. Not much credibility here.

    I see why you are a coward and don't reveal your identity. You would be a laughing stock!

  4. Paul,

    You are still Ackles' attorney of record in his case against the city?

  5. I would like to point out that it was John McGoff who started deputizing janitors.

  6. John McGoff did not ever deputize a janitor. Kenny Ackles ordered the janitor to be deputized.